What Sylvester Stallone Thought Of The Infamous 1980s Rambo Cartoon Series

Rambo: The Force Of Freedom made an unlikely cartoon hero out of the title character, but what did Sylvester Stallone think of the spinoff? First Blood is a bleak 1972 novel by author David Morrell, which followed a badly traumatized Vietnam veteran named Rambo who launches a war on a small American town after being mistreated by the local sheriff. The book is a dark, gripping read, but the character of Rambo was softened for the eventual 1982 film adaptation.

This version of Rambo only kills one character in self-defense, and in contrast to the novel, lives to the end of the story. First Blood is a relatively grounded action thriller, but the sequel Rambo: First Blood Part 2 dialed up the violence and over-the-top action sequence considerably. Both the sequel and Rocky IV were released in 1985 and were gigantic hits, grossing a combined $600 million at the box office.

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Despite being an R-rated adventure about a soldier with PTSD who racks up a huge bodycount, Rambo: First Blood Part 2 was still popular with younger children. Given how successful G.I. Joe was at that time too, it's little surprise producers saw the value in creating a Rambo cartoon and a toy line. The series saw the title soldier recruited by Colonel Trautman to lead the "Force of Freedom" against a terrorist group called S.A.V.A.G.E. Each week the group would battle against S.A.V.A.G.E., though nobody actually dies. Rambo was voiced by Neil Ross, not Rambo franchise star Sylvester Stallone, who in a 1986 interview revealed he wasn't a fan of either the series or the toys.

During a chat with the Chicago Tribute to promote Cobra, he revealed he had no control over the licensing rights for the Rambo toys and even though he made a small percentage of the profit, he was "infuriated" by them. ''It's not for kids. The movie was not supposed to be for little kids, and I wouldn`t let my own children play with those toys." As for the then-upcoming Rambo: The Force Of Freedom cartoon, he stated he was told it would be about a softened version of the soldier doing good deeds. To this, he said ''First of all, that isn`t Rambo, but, more important, they tell me I can`t stop them because it's not me their using; it's a likeness of a character I played and don`t own.''

Rambo: The Force Of Freedom raised controversy before and during its airing for being the first children's cartoon based on an R-rated franchise. While the show itself wasn't particularly violent, it was still odd to base a cartoon around an inherently bloody series, and in the same interview, Sylvester Stallone made sure there wouldn't be any toys based on Cobra. The controversies plaguing the series made sure it only lasted one season, though it did quite well during its lone, 65-episode run.

Next: Rambo 6 Should Use Stallone's Unused Monster Idea (With Rambo As The Monster)

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